Holy Spirit

<<God as spiritually active in the world>>

The Holy Spirit (also called the Holy Ghost, Spirit of God, Spirit of the Lord, Spirit of Truth, Comforter and Counsellor) is one distinct member of the triune God, along with the Father and Jesus the Son.

He has and will continue to pay a vital role in God’s overall plan, and provides the spiritual presence of Jesus after His return to the Father. Although functioning in the OT, the Holy Spirit only moved on

       Everything that happens between God and humanity                            happens through the work of the Holy Spirit

select individuals at various times, but since the NT His ministry has become more prominent, following His outpouring on the day of Pentecost and subsequent, continuous presence in all believers (Gen 1:2; Ex 35:30-33; 1 Sam 10:6; Joel 2:28,29; Act 2:1-41).

Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit, then baptised in the Holy Spirit prior to commencing His ministry. He was able to resist Satan’s temptations, stating, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me” and so, being full of the Spirit, went about doing good and healing those oppressed by the Devil (Lk 1:35, 3:22, 4:1,14,18; Mk 1:8; Act 10:38). Jesus accomplished the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit and it’s the only way we will too.  

The Holy Spirit was promised to Christ’s fearful disciples, and after ‘receiving Him’ they became bold and effective witnesses with the marked contrast being acknowledged – it was not of their own doing (Mt 26:56, 69-74; Jn 7:38,39, 14:16-18; Act 1:4,5,8, 4:13, 5:32; 1 Cor 2:4,5).

The work of the Holy Spirit

At the time of our salvation we are literally baptised in the Spirit (Act 2:38; Rom 8:9-11; 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 4:6). Even as unbelievers, the Holy Spirit is at work convicting and awakening the God-conscious part within people to lead them to salvation (Jn 16:8; 2 Cor 3:6; Tit 3:5).  Following repentance and the ‘new birth’ our spirit is regenerated (revived) with the Holy Spirit taking up permanent residence within. Scripture calls this a ‘deposit’ guaranteeing our eternal inheritance (Jn 6:63; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13,14).

That initial deposit must be nurtured and guarded as He can be deeply grieved by our sinful thoughts, words and actions, with His ministry suppressed or stopped by our lack of co-operation. Thus when He convicts us of sin we are to repent and then, being ‘cleansed’ (forgiven), we are encouraged to be filled or topped up, with the Spirit. As this happens on an ongoing basis, so His divine character will increasingly be produced in us as we yield and rely on Him rather than being independent and neglecting His enabling (Gal 2:20, 5:16-25; Eph 5:18; 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2). Unbelievers who deliberately and continually refuse to acknowledge His convicting can’t be forgiven (the unforgivable sin), nor those who deliberately and completely renounce Christianity (Mt 12:31,32; Heb 6:4-6).

To a large degree we determine the measure of the Spirit’s activity in our lives and consequently our usefulness in His service. Our desire and intention to live a life conducive to serving Him is foundational, understanding our bodies should

Be constantly ‘in touch’ with the Holy Spirit to                                                 keep yourself ‘on course’

not be abused by harmful substances or polluted by unholy activities but respected and cared for (Lk 11:13; Jn 3:34; Rom 8:1-4,13; 1 Cor 3:16,17, 6:12-20; 1 Pet 1:16).  To be filled with the Spirit is opening every aspect of our lives to Him, holding nothing back as we make ourselves available as cleansed vessels to be used by Him. Unfortunately the church as a whole, has the theory and knowledge of the Holy Spirit but not the powerful experience of His working evidenced in our midst. 

The Holy Spirit is the divine, living energy active in the world and in our hearts, providing intimacy with the Father and Son, conveying God’s thoughts to us as well as teaching and reminding us of what we need to know and do (Jn 14:26, 15:26, 16:12-15; Act 2:17, 19:6; Eph 3:22). Besides He relates or communes with our spirit, which in turn should govern our mind and body. This is the unique experience of a believer – becoming “a dwelling place of God”, alternatively described as “Christ dwelling in your heart” or “partaking of the divine nature” (Eph 2:22, 3:17; 2 Pet 1:4). The Spirit works in us to build a solid foundation of godly character, called the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22,23). The Holy Spirit, also termed our advocate (the one who helps us in our Christian walk) intercedes for us in agreement with God's will (Rom 8:26,27; 1 Cor 2:11). 

His focus is to raise us out of the old life of futility and failure to a new life of effectiveness and victory (Rom 6:3-11; 2 Cor 5:17). The Holy Spirit is vitally involved in our rebirth and renewal by continuing to provide the challenges and conviction to put off the old life and put on the new. Besides which, after we die He will raise our bodies to be with Christ forever (Jn 8:7-9; Rom 8:11,13; Eph 4:22-24). Although our inner default setting is sinfully going our own way, be determined to reverse this general trend and rely on Him, being His humble, obedient servants, every day, in everything fully submitted to Christ's ownership, because only by being connected to Him can we bring forth eternal fruit (Jn 15:4,5). Whatever the Holy Spirit does in our lives is for our good, whether convicting of sin to restore fellowship with the Lord or guiding by prompting us to walk in greater obedience.

Our responsibilities

God’s ongoing ministry is carried out through his people, as Jesus delegated all born again Christians, as His representatives on earth, to continue the work He initiated – releasing people from the power of Satan (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-18,20; Lk 10:19; 1 Jn 3:8). The Holy Spirit sends out workers, directs their work and sovereignly gives special powers to people (as He chooses) for the benefit of the Kingdom of God. Miracles and works accomplished in the Name of Jesus under His direction should be as common as those recorded in the book of Acts (Acts 13:2-4, 16:6; 1 Cor 12:4-11).

Besides knowing the principles of Scripture it is our responsibility to listen and obey His voice, dealing with the ungodly character issues in our lives aware we can easily ignore or offend Him with our sinful actions (Jn 10:27; Eph 4:3,22-24,30; Col 3:9,10; 1 Thes 5:19). The Holy Spirit will help us but will not do for us what is our responsibility. As our spiritual mentor, He seeks to inspire us by striving, transforming, guarding, guiding through inner promptings and comforting as needed. As He knows what we need better than we do, it is best to take His advice!

Do I comprehend the incredible privilege of hosting the Holy Spirit? Endeavour to maintain a conscious awareness of His presence and companionship throughout your day. Because your mind is fully persuaded that “He who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”, you will

  Thank Him regularly for His ministry                                   and enabling in your life

be more than able to face life situations with Him (1 Jn 4:4). ‘The Counsellor’ gives peace and soundness of mind, enabling us to stand firm in Christ, comforting, guiding into all truth, sanctifying, making us like Jesus and reassuring us that we are God’s children (Rom 8:2,6-9,14-17; 1 Cor 6:11; 2 Tim 1:7; 1 Jn 2:20,27).

We are encouraged to pray ‘in the Holy Spirit’ for His direction and empowerment. This can be in ‘tongues” – our spiritual or heavenly language for often we don’t know what we should pray for as we should (Eph 6:18; Jud 1:20).

Implications

1/. While the Spirit brings freedom from many things this is not so we can “…indulge the sinful nature; rather, [it is to] serve one another in love”, as we are transformed into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:17,18; Gal 5:13).

2/. We are to “Be filled with the Spirit” and so, being increasingly engulfed by Him, flow in co-operation with Him in the divine purposes to effectively touch hurting humanity; “…your Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit [in increasing measure] to those who ask Him” (Lk 11:13; Eph 5:18). As present day disciples, we must avail ourselves of His empowering too, yet being aware that because the Holy Spirit is pure and sin in our life will hinder His ministry we must live according to His standards. 

3/. Scripture does not say we are to seek for the baptism in the Spirit, but we are to go on being filled (saturated and under the influence) by repeated experiences (Act 2:4, 4:31). This brings us into closer fellowship with God, and increased usefulness in His ministries.

4/. The Holy Spirit is not to be exalted except in that He brings glory to Jesus by revealing the truth to us, for He is the servant of God the Father and Jesus the Son who purchased our salvation (Jn 15:26, 16:13-15). His role is mediatorial, bringing God and humans back into relationship,” for the Kingdom of God is…righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).

5/. Hudson Taylor, a missionary statesman said, ‘Since the days of Pentecost, has the whole church ever put aside every other work and waited upon Him for ten days, that the Spirit’s power might be manifested? We give too much attention to method, machinery and resources, and too little to the source of power’. His power has not diminished but our dependency on, and co-operation with Him has, as modern Christianity has increasingly substituted human manipulation, ingenuity, eloquence and systems for the Holy Spirit’s exclusive ministry. While God uses our efforts, our reliance is to be on Him, not our [un]refined flesh to bring about spiritual results (Zech 4:6).

See also: anointed, baptism (Holy Spirit), conviction (2), encounter, fruit (of the Spirit), God, help holy/holiness, manifestations, prayer, presence of God, prompting, Spirit filled, Spiritual gifts, trinity.


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